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Mortgage rates ease as the labor market cools 

Mortgage rates eased slightly last week after a cooler-than-expected jobs report. Additionally, the 10-year Treasury yield fell after Friday’s jobs report.

HousingWire’s Mortgage Rates Center showed the average 30-year fixed rate for conventional loans at 7.51% on Tuesday, slightly below the rate of 7.57% one week ago. At the same time one year ago, the average rate was 6.54%.

The 15-year fixed rate averaged 6.77% on Tuesday, down from 6.79% one week earlier.

“The labor market has always been my key variable for lower rates, and last week’s headline jobs number missed, while wage growth came in cooler than anticipated,” HousingWire lead analyst Logan Mohtashami said. “However, the other critical labor data are getting softer, such as job openings data and job openings quit rate. The Fed really follows the job openings quit rate as it’s a measure of labor tightness, and it is below COVID-19 levels.”

As of May 3, there were just under 600,000 single-family homes on the market, up 33% from last year, according to data from Altos Research. The available supply of unsold homes is rising and is likely to continue growing through the summer, according to Mike Simonsen, founder and president of Altos Research.

“In a few weeks, we expect the market will have more homes available than at anytime in the past three years,” Simonsen wrote on Monday. “By the end of the summer, it looks like inventory will finally be back above 2020 levels. But it’ll take several more years of elevated mortgage rates before inventory builds back to pre-pandemic levels of 2019 or earlier.”

Between April 26 and May 3, however, inventory only ticked up by 1%, rising from 556,291 to 559,744. Simonsen expects to see 700,000 homes on the market before the typical seasonal decline takes hold in the fall.

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